Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the Promise

July 24, 2017

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the Promise

Mr. President

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels came to mind a bit ago, as I contemplated yet another piece of high drama in the never ending “let’s mess with health care” drama.* Truth be told, I don’t know whether there’s any plot linkage between repeal and replace, and the twists and turns associated with the Big Con on the Riviera. (Not a movie I ever saw.) The title fits, and that’s more farce than this despicable disgrace deserves.

Republicans offer one primary justification for repeal and replace: the promise. Ladies and gents, have you ever made a promise, only to find out later that what you promised won’t work anymore? Or, reflecting, that you were wrong from the

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Trouble Ahead: Thoughts on Health Care

June 26, 2017

Trouble Ahead: Thoughts on Health Care

Ugh!!! Here’s the Congressional Budget Office’s Cost Estimate for H.R. 1628, the Senate version of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Dense, but I read it. Characterization? “Despicable,” but only because I must be civil.

Some random thoughts:

Process. When you design a plan secretly, you’ll get a bad plan. Always, but especially when you are dealing with health care, which involves almost 20% of the American economy. The Affordable Care Act process involved 100+ hearings. Tons of input from stakeholders. The Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan Gang of Six worked for months, as well. That process helped, even though the three Rs voted no on the bill in the end. And—in

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Mad as Hell … about Obamacare Repeal.

January 7, 2017

Mad as Hell … about Obamacare Repeal.

Why? you say. Or, Just another Liberal who can’t accept a loss? I’ll explain what has me torked off just now—I was pretty equanimous about the whole repeal thing, really—in a bit. Some background first.

Self-employed from 2000 until 2009. Uninsurable from 2006 on, dependent on a state-sponsored program for small businesses. (Uninsurable, for some of my R friends, means No. Policies. Available. Without. Exclusions. For. My. Health. Issues. None, at any cost. For reals.)

I joined a fine law firm in January 2010. Health insurance mattered, although I’d have gone even if insurance was not an issue. I worried about my insurance program continuing. Passage of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare

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Cry, the Beloved Country

January 9, 2016

Cry, the Beloved Country came into my mind earlier this morning, less because of the story it tells about pre-apartheid South Africa, and far more because it so aptly describes my country.

To say we live in interesting times does an extraordinary injustice to the phrase “interesting times.” “End times” fits the bill far better. I have been sentient for 14 presidential campaigns—Goldwater – Johnson in 1964 through the present embarrassment, and I’ve never seen a campaign come close to disgracing our nation as badly as this one has.

The leading candidate in the Republican Party held a rally in Vermont. Leave aside for a moment the utter vacuousness of the words coming out the man’s mouth, and the fact

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The Ghost of Governor Ann Richards

November 5, 2015

Y’all remember Ann Richards, right? She was the Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. In 1994, running for reelection against the older, dumber son of former President George H.W. Bush, she lost, giving us W aka Shrub.

In 1988, Ms. Richards—then Texas State Treasurer—gave the Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention. Best line? “Poor George[H.W. Bush], he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Did the line she uttered in 1988 matter in 1994. No one knows for sure? But daddies are pop’lar in Texas, and nobody likes a wiseass.

Governor Richards died in 2006. Her legacy was directness, wit, and W. (Oh, her firstborn child is Cecile Richards,

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Writing Matters … Mostly!

March 5, 2015

When I was a young man I recall some discussion—today it would be Internet buzz—about how writing didn’t matter anymore. We all talked to one another, and that made writing unnecessary.

Wrong! Writing matters greatly, almost always. Very recently, I got a decision in a case. My clients were right on both the facts and the law; however, the case was complicated. I filed a motion for summary judgment. It’s a request to the court, asking the court to accept the other side’s version of the facts and still rule in your side’s favor, on account of the law being on your side.

My clients prevailed. The right decision, although I was concerned until I got the ruling, as I’m

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King v. Burwell; Can’t Quite Let It Go!

February 20, 2015

The Supreme Court will hear from counsel for the parties in King v. Burwell on March 4, a week from Wednesday. I have some thoughts. I want to start by sharing the issue, as the Court formulated it:

Whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Note what issues are not before the Court:  Obamacare is bad; Obamacare costs me money; But freedom; etc. If process matters, the narrow question before the Court involves the right of the IRS, as the agency charged with administering the subsidies, to interpret the statute as it

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Obamacare News

January 29, 2015

Rich! Just really rich! That’s my reaction to House GOP Demands To Know What Obama Will Do If SCOTUS Guts Obamacare, posted at TalkingPointsMemo on January 28 and written by Sahil Kapur.

The issue is King v. Burwell, No. 14-114, the Supreme Court case to be argued on March 4. The plaintiffs claim subsidies cannot be provided to insureds in states without their own exchanges. Most of these states—which rely on the federal exchange—are red states, controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. (For more on the issues, read King v. Burwell: The Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court Meet Again from MRW, posted in November 2014.)

Mr. Kapur focuses on a January 28 letter from five House

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Obamacare, Yet Again

January 8, 2015

Steve Brill is a journalist/businessman/attorney. He created American Lawyer (a magazine), Court TV, and several other publications. I have been following Mr. Brill since he created American Lawyer in 1979. It was an industry publication and really exposed BigLaw—the world of major law firms—to the rest of us. (My partners and I bump up against BigLaw routinely, but that world is very different from ours.)

Mr. Brill wrote Bitter Pill:  Why Medical Bills are Killing Us for Time magazine in February 2013. His book, America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System was published this past Monday. Here’s Malcolm Gladwell’s review, The Bill, from the just out January 12 issue

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